Childhood adversity and cardiovascular disease in early adulthood: a Danish cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Aims To examine the effect of childhood adversity on the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) between ages 16 and 38, specifically focusing on ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. Methods and results Register data on all children born in Denmark between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 2001, who were alive and resident in Denmark without a diagnosis of CVD or congenital heart disease until age 16 were used, totalling 1 263 013 individuals. Cox proportional hazards and Aalen additive hazards models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and adjusted hazard differences of CVD from ages 16 to 38 in five trajectory groups of adversity experienced between ages 0 and 15. In total, 4118 individuals developed CVD between their 16th birthday and 31 December 2018. Compared with those who experienced low levels of adversity, those who experienced severe somatic illness and death in the family (men: adjusted HR: 1.6, 95% confidence interval: 1.4-1.8, women: 1.4, 1.2-1.6) and those who experienced very high rates of adversity across childhood and adolescence (men: 1.6, 1.3-2.0, women: 1.6, 1.3-2.0) had a higher risk of developing CVD, corresponding to 10-18 extra cases of CVD per 100 000 person-years in these groups. Conclusions Individuals who have been exposed to childhood adversity are at higher risk of developing CVD in young adulthood compared to individuals with low adversity exposure. These findings suggest that interventions targeting the social origins of adversity and providing support for affected families may have long-term cardio-protective effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)586–593
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Cardiovascular disease, Ischaemic heart disease, Cerebrovascular disease, Childhood adversity, Adverse childhood experiences, Young adulthood, HEART-DISEASE, EXPERIENCES, ASSOCIATION, ABUSE, PREDICTORS, ALLOSTASIS, MORTALITY, STRESS, HEALTH, RISK

ID: 326727684